It’s funny how things have a way of coming together, how scattered pieces of the jigsaw neatly slot together all of their own accord.
Perhaps funny isn’t the most appropriate word in the circumstances, because funny is very far from how things feel. Things have happened recently that hurt as much as – if not more – than anything that has happened since my marriage ended.
I don’t think I’ve ever really been betrayed before. Of course I’ve felt betrayed, slighted, hurt, let down… but I’ve never been out and out betrayed. Until now. Yet I’m fighting with myself to really face it because doing so will force me to re-evaluate things that occupy chapters in my story that I can’t bear to re-write.
Facing the truth will force me to see things that I have refused to see. Will force me to see things as they are, rather than through the pure filter that I prefer to view life – and people – through.Betrayal cuts to the very core of what we believe – about ourselves, about others. When betrayal’s epicentre is our heart the pain is visceral in its intensity and the aftershocks shake the foundations of things that really matter – love, hope, trust, respect, memories; all are questioned in the aftermath of its impact.
In its fallout there is anger. Bitterness. Resentment. They come in waves and when the tide ebbs hurt flows; unencumbered, unchecked as the beauty that once we saw is corroded by an ugliness that we can scarcely comprehend.
These are powerful emotions and they are damaging when we hold onto them, burning us up inside and charring, scarring our pure emotions of love, understanding, empathy and compassion. For it’s difficult to view the wreckage through forgiving eyes.
Forgiveness…. It’s something I have struggled with hugely through my divorce and beyond. I’ve tried hard to pour water on the flames of anger, bitterness and resentment, but their low crackle remained and betrayal stokes the fire anew.
How do we forgive those that cut us so deeply, and without acknowledgement or apology? How do we forgive a betrayal that is undercut by lies and deceit? Honestly, I don’t know. When we feel like the victim of unjust and knowingly hurtful treatment, our sense of inherent fairness, justice, and goodness is trampled into the dirt.
Our trust in these better angels of human nature is soiled, and often our sense of our own better selves can be spoiled in the process. What did we do to deserve it? What could we have done differently? How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so fucking stupid?
What I know for sure is that it is ourselves that we hurt when forgiveness remains out of our reach; forgiveness for self, forgiveness for others. The path towards forgiveness is a path to our better future.
It’s not my place to judge the behaviour of another for I haven’t walked in their shoes, seen the world through their eyes, or felt the world’s slings and arrows as they have. That isn’t to excuse behaviour that falls short of what we may wish to hope for – and expect – of those that we care for and that profess to care for us. But really, that is a matter for their conscience, for their peace of mind.
For us, as always, there are lessons. Things that we can take away to make sure that we make better choices in the future, to ensure that we don’t live as puppets handing the strings to our emotions to those whose hands we cannot trust.
But it’s a delicate line we tread, balancing a wish to feel the intoxicating emotions of giving ourselves wholly to another, whilst maintaining safe boundaries within our own selves that cannot be crossed, cannot be compromised – we mustn’t be blind to their being breached, we mustn’t question our instinct when it tells us what our conscious mind, laden with fears of a painful past revisited, refuses to accept.
What has this betrayal taught me? To trust. To trust myself, as truths revealed confirm what my instincts already knew. More importantly to trust life, and to trust the ultimate goodness of the journey that I am in the midst of. Life can be a tough school and its puzzles can be long and abstract, the answers remaining hidden until we are ready to truly understand just what those answers reveal. This week answers have revealed themselves to me without my design – random, improbable events that revealed truths that I wasn’t looking for but that have helped me to paint a clear picture where previously there was a page full of question marks.
I feel used, cheated, belittled.
I feel angry, hurt, and at the bottom of it all I feel a profound sadness for the reinterpretation of what I had thought to be something special. I chose to see the best and I was wrong.
But, emerging through the clouds, is a growing sense of hope. That life really does hold something special ahead for me, something that I am being prepared for, the final piece of the jigsaw that will be placed in my hand for me to slot into place.
I have been forced to face the truth, and I must do so unflinchingly until the hurt subsides and only the lessons remain: that in the end integrity and character are everything. That honesty, love, compassion, respect and decency are strengths to be held onto no matter what it may cost us in the short-term. However life tests us, these are what will see us through, and we mustn’t allow anybody, anybody, to take those qualities away from us.
When somebody is deserving of our heart we need to be able to give the very best of ourselves – a comforting shoulder, the enduring truth of our word, a reminder of how much that other person is worth when the actions of others seek to persuade them otherwise. Fun, sex, excitement, promises built on attraction and need – that’s the easy part. The tests of our relationships lie beyond those things, in the enduring gifts of honesty, integrity and good character; in being able to provide the things that really matter.
Time and again in my life the worst things that have happened to me have proven to be the very best. Finally, the penny is dropping. Life has given me the answers I needed to take my next step. It’s time that I finally started to trust – without question – that this really is all for my greater good. It always has been.
Photo Credit: Karl Fredricks/Unsplash